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ARE THE CONTINENTS MOVING?

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      The theory that the continents have moved or drifted about ("continental drift") was first advanced by a German scientist, Alfred Wegener, in 1912.

 

       He pointed out that coal was present all over the norhtern hemisphere, yet coal from plants growing in tropical forests. And among other things, he said the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America matched so well that they looked as if they had been torn apart.

      Wegener thought all the continents had at first been together in one great land mass. Then they had drifted apart to their present location. Most geologists didn’t agree with him because no one could think of any way by which continents would move about.

      Then scientists began to suggest ways in which this could happen. One was that heat from the interior of the earth creates convection currents that make the continents move. Other scientists now think that the ocean floor is being pulled apart by currents in the mantle of the earth’s crust.

      So there is no agreement on the subject. Earth scientists tend to accept the idea; those who study under-ocean geology are more ready to accept it. If all geologists were to accept the theory that the continents have drifted, and may still be moving, a great revolution in our ideas on earth science will have to take place.

     Science would have to come  up with new answers about our climate, about how plants and animals envolved, about how mountains were built, and many more areas.

 

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